1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is a verse we are all familiar with “Love is patient, love is kind….”. I’m sure most people are familiar with that verse. A few months ago the Lord started using this verse to really change my perspective on relationships – specifically my marriage. We always are told to love one another – but then no one even thinks about HOW to love each other. Seriously – stop for one second after you read this question and answer it to yourself before you continue reading:
How do you love someone?
There are so many people and entities that effect our outlook on how to love one another – movies, the media in general, romance novels, what we saw growing up – but here is what I found to be so crazy once God put 1 Cor 13 on my heart. The answer on how to love is spelled out word for word in His word and it is a verse we use often but don’t actually seem to apply. We know that the greatest commandment of all is to love one another but then we never take the next step to actually use His word to figure out how to love one another or how to love ourselves. If we want to love ourselves, our neighbors, our enemies, our children, our mothers, our fathers – then we need to learn how to love them, they way Christ called us to love. There is not ONE relationship in your life that cannot at the least be effected by loving the other person like Christ. Loving like Christ changes people, changes circumstances, changes relationships can even change marriages. I saw something that Joyce Meyers said once and it went like this “Everybody is always searching for a word. LOVE EACH OTHER. There is a word that will last you the rest of your life,” and I don’t think she has ever spoken truer words. Now let’s take a look at this “word” that we can study on for the rest of our life and break it down verse by verse so that we can understand how to apply this to our lives. I pray that as you read this you will feel led to leave your comment so you can share the insight God lays on your heart. I’m just going to use the KJV here but I think it is always helpful to study other versions as well. (This verse from Corinthians is the first verse that I, on my own accord, took and broke down piece by piece – and if you have never attempted this on your own I strongly encourage you to do so. It is a profound and fun experience!)
1 Corinthians 13 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up
- Charity suffereth long. So I took the first sentence of the first verse I had ever analyzed and was BLOWN AWAY. Charity suffereth long. The first word, Charity, took me aback a little because I expected it to say love of course. But as I researched I found that Charity first of all did not have the same meaning as it does today when the KJV was translated – but it is used from the Greek word agape – meaning to love in a selfless way that is above and beyond anything sexual or physical. And in the KJV when charity is used it is mean to separate itself from Phileo love which is an affectionate love – the type of love that we would show to someone in our family. So in the first word, of the first sentence we are told that we are getting a lesson that extends beyond the boundaries of our family relationships. This lesson on love is a lesson on all love – the greatest love. The next word suffereth took me back as well. That is not a word with a positive connotation, definitely not as positive as the word that preceded it. So I looked up the definition. Suffereth is Third-person singular simple present indicative form of suffer. Since I had absolutely no idea what that even meant I looked up the definition of suffer, which I thought I pretty much knew but even that surprised me, here is the definition from Merriam Webster:
1 to submit to or be forced to endure <suffer martyrdom> to feel keenly : labor under <suffer thirst> 2 : undergo, experience 3 : to put up with especially as inevitable or unavoidable 4 : to allow especially by reason of indifference <the eaglesuffers little birds to sing — Shakespeare> 1: to endure death, pain, or distress 2 : to sustain loss or damage 3 : to be subject to disability or handicap
Looking at this definition is where my mind really (I have to go get my kids from school. Will finish this later!)